Falmouth Docks & Engineering Company, operated by A&P Group, has secured an award of £973,292 from the Shared Prosperity Fund to undertake an environmental impact assessment (EIA) to inform potential redevelopment to support the production of cleaner, affordable and secure energy from floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea.
The EIA will inform how potential modernisation of the dock infrastructure at the historic Cornish port could enable Cornwall to be at the forefront of the growth of this emerging high value, clean growth sector. It will also explore options for the managed expansion of Cornwall’s year-round cruise tourism offer.
Assessments would include a range of socio-economic and environmental studies and surveys to support marine licensing requirements, such as benthic surveys to identify any potentially sensitive habitats or species that may be impacted by marine development, and hydrodynamic modelling which will explore water movement.
It is anticipated that the potential redevelopment of the site will underpin significant employment opportunities, if the results of this assessment are positive and the subsequent projects goes ahead. Previous economic analysis has forecast that the proposed developments could lead to at least 2,000 jobs over the next ten years, and bring benefits for local assembly, maintenance and operations facilities.
Mike Spicer, MD at A&P Falmouth, said: “Falmouth Port is a statutory harbour authority operated by Falmouth Docks and Engineering Company (FDEC).
“As such, A&P is committed to modernising the existing infrastructure to ensure the port can meet the changing demands which are placed upon it, which includes supporting the growth of floating offshore wind and growing cruise activity in Cornwall.
“Any plans to modernise the existing facilities will be dependent on the environmental impact of the proposed developments. The full Environmental Impact Assessment will consider these impacts and will determine the feasibility of any future plans for development.”
Louis Gardner, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for the economy, added:
“Developing the floating offshore wind sector is a huge opportunity for Cornwall. It has the potential to bring significant benefits including boosting the economy, creating well paid jobs and contributing to Cornwall Council’s Net Zero and Energy Transition initiatives.
“I’m pleased to see that this funding will give A&P the opportunity to take a proactive approach to understanding the potential environmental impact of this new infrastructure proposal.”
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have been allocated a total of £132 million from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, a central pillar of the Government’s Levelling Up agenda. The money is being used to deliver good growth for the region by supporting local investments that provide new opportunities for communities and businesses.
This potential project could be an important step in working towards the Government’s ambition to bring forward up to 5GW of floating offshore wind by 2035 which will lead towards cleaner, affordable and secure energy.
The UK is leading the world in offshore wind with more installed capacity than any other country. Currently, there is approximately 10GW of installed capacity of offshore wind which is equivalent to 10% of the UK’s electricity.
The Celtic Sea is considered a strategically important site to meet these ambitions to develop an important source of renewable energy and play a critical role in helping the UK achieve Carbon neutrality by 2050.